You’ve probably heard the terms “settlement” and “verdict”, especially in ads for lawyers. Though people use the terms interchangeably in everyday conversation, they don’t mean the same thing. We’ll get into the definitions for each one below.
Not all cases go to court. Most of the time, cases are settled out of court. This is because it is cheaper and less time consuming to settle out of court. Sometimes parties reach an agreement in the middle of a court case. If your personal injury case doesn’t go to court, then you and the other party will come to an agreement outside of the civil court system. The party that has been injured or wronged is called the plaintiff. The party that is accused of negligence or harm is called the defendant. In these situations, either party can suggest an amount of money as compensation. Both parties can reject, accept, or counter that offer.
If your case goes to trial, you will receive a verdict. In simple terms, a verdict is a decision made about your case. A verdict can be made by a jury or a judge, depending on the circumstances. In both cases, the judge and jury will hear the arguments for each side of the case. After hearings, they will assess the evidence in total. From that they will make a judgement call on if they think the defendant is guilty or not. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you receive a verdict in your favor, the other party may try to appeal that decision.
As frustrating as it might be to hear, we can’t answer that right away. In truth, no one can instantly assign a dollar value to your case. If you find a law firm willing to give you an exact amount after an email or a single phone call- they’re lying. In personal injury cases, you want an honest lawyer who will tell you your advantages and disadvantages. Not someone who promises results before they read your case file.
How do you get an idea of your case’s worth? The best way is to spend time with your attorney and their staff. A good law firm will go over your case in detail. They will do research and gather as much information as they can. Your case worth will also vary depending on if the other party decides to settle or if the case goes to trial.
As we have previously noted, verdict statistics of a state don’t indicate what you can expect to get. And a law firm’s past cases are examples of their work for other clients, not guarantees. There really isn’t a secret formula. Just you and the unique circumstances of your case.
You can expect to cover these topics as you discuss your case: